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66th Cannes Film Festival

Asia Argento - 66th Cannes Film Festival - Zulu premiere and Closing Ceremony - Cannes, France - Sunday 26th May 2013

Asia Argento

Zulu Premiere

Asia Argento - 66th Cannes Film Festival - 'Zulu' - Premiere - Cannes, France - Sunday 26th May 2013

Asia Argento
Asia Argento

66th Cannes Film Festival

Asia Argento - 66th Cannes Film Festival - Inside Closing Ceremony - Cannes, France - Sunday 26th May 2013

AmfAR's Cinema Against Aids gala 2012 during the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival

Asia Argento Thursday 24th May 2012 AmfAR's Cinema Against Aids gala 2012 during the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival

Asia Argento

The Last Mistress Review


Excellent
After years of lascivious experiments and audience-bludgeoning anti-romances, French provocateur Catherine Breillat pulls an unexpectedly engrossing and lurid film out of Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly's 19th-century novel Un Vieille Maitresse, the tale of a French dandy and the 36-year-old "Old Mistress" whom he attempts to do away with before he marries the daughter of famed nobility. Breillat's latest presents not only one of the great performances of this year and the director's most accessible work to date, but also introduces a character of true lustful ferocity unlike few before: a venomous madame who makes Anne Boleyn look like Anne of Green Gables.

Her name is Vellini (Asia Argento). It's rumored she's the flamboyant progeny of an Italian priestess and a Spanish matador. She licks fresh blood off of gaping wounds. The ringlets of her hair resemble a heart turned on its head. It's said she can outstare the sun and the second you get your first glimpse at Argento laying on her canapé, you believe it sans aucun doute. Though he first casts her off as an "ugly mutt," the young playboy Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Aït Aattou) takes it as his task to possess this creature despite her blatant loathing of him. Eventually they exile themselves to Argentina and bear a daughter, only to see her die from the sting of a scorpion. Unchained and thrown into an abyss of grief, Argento's bellowing growl of despair could shred the very screen.

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The Mother of Tears Review


Grim
The apocalypse is held over in Rome and, per usual, perennial schlockmeister Dario Argento is behind the entire thing. People are getting strangled by their own guts, women are taking butcher cleavers to their children, large bald men are dispatching lesbians by poking out their eyes and shoving large spears up their hoo-has. Just another day for Mr. Argento and his lascivious daughter Asia as they bring the trilogy that started with the master's classic Suspiria to a laughably berserk end. But really, how else could it have ended?

As previously mentioned, Rome has gone insane and it's all because of a dagger and three little statues dug up by a priest in some back-country cemetery. These troublesome artifacts find their way to a young art historian named Sarah (Ms. Argento) and her friend Giselle. As Sarah goes to fetch the cleaning supplies, Giselle gets her mouth split open and gets strangled by her large intestine before being consumed by three demons and their screaming pet monkey. As regular citizens begin to take to random acts of violence, Sarah is suspected of involvement by a detective (Cristian Solimeno) while she hides away with Michael (Adam James), the head curator of the museum.

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Boarding Gate Review


Grim
Asia Argento plays a former prostitute cum corporate assassin who decides to murder her old flame in Olivier Assayas' wasteful Boarding Gate, and that's just about all I can say about the movie. Michael Madsen plays a perverse bigwig too, but he's done that before; Assayas shows an interest in Chinese technology, but he's also done that before, and with more impressive results. Despite its intentions, the only thing even worth speaking about here is Ms. Argento, fruit of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento's loins.

Sandra (Argento) spends the first push of this dismal film talking background with Miles (Madsen). and even in these stagy environs, Argento's unkempt sleaze permeates the entire scene. Miles speaks about his new wife and kids but can't help but fall for Sandra, with her hand placed playfully between her thighs, asking him to say the word "slave" over and over. Later, she talks about how an encounter with her ex-flame put her off of Lebanese cuisine, not long before she strips down to black panties and strangles Miles with his belt while giving him a handjob. Then she shoots him full of bullets.

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Marie Antoinette Review


Good
The word "soft" summarizes the world of Sofia Coppola, perfectly. Each film she has made has the tenderness, vagueness and, ultimately, the sensibility of a fluffy, white cloud in the middle of a blue sky. With two near-perfect films on her resume, 1999's The Virgin Suicides and 2003's majestic Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola's third film should have been an easy play. Instead, we are given the beguiling Marie Antoinette.

There's the famous Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst): the one who so insipidly said "Let them eat cake" when learning of the famine and starvation of the French people and the one who had her head cut off and displayed, with ample delight, to the same people she told to eat said cake. Then there's the private Marie Antoinette: the one who was forced into a French marriage (she was Austrian originally) by her brutish mother and who would eventually lose a newborn baby right as her kingdom was crashing down. Coppola seems very confused as to whom she wants to show in Marie Antoinette.

Continue reading: Marie Antoinette Review

Marie Antoinette Review


Good
The word "soft" summarizes the world of Sofia Coppola, perfectly. Each film she has made has the tenderness, vagueness and, ultimately, the sensibility of a fluffy, white cloud in the middle of a blue sky. With two near-perfect films on her resume, 1999's The Virgin Suicides and 2003's majestic Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola's third film should have been an easy play. Instead, we are given the beguiling Marie Antoinette.

There's the famous Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst): the one who so insipidly said "Let them eat cake" when learning of the famine and starvation of the French people and the one who had her head cut off and displayed, with ample delight, to the same people she told to eat said cake. Then there's the private Marie Antoinette: the one who was forced into a French marriage (she was Austrian originally) by her brutish mother and who would eventually lose a newborn baby right as her kingdom was crashing down. Coppola seems very confused as to whom she wants to show in Marie Antoinette.

Continue reading: Marie Antoinette Review

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Review


OK
Only a month after acclaimed author J.T. LeRoy was exposed by The New York Times as a fictional persona concocted by writer Laura Albert - a revelation that all but demolished the credibility of the scribe's supposedly semi-autobiographical books - cultish actress/diva-turned-director Asia Argento arrives with her adaptation of LeRoy's The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, the tumultuous road-tripping saga of young Jeremiah and the psycho birth mother who introduces him to a world of whoring, pill-popping and delusional paranoia. Having proven herself more than slightly familiar with society's seedy underbelly with 2000's skuzzy Scarlet Diva, Argento attacks LeRoy's (untrue, but still affecting) tale of corrosively corrupted childhood with nasty relish, employing severe close-ups, nightmarishly surreal stop-motion animation, curdled primary colors and a dissonant Billy Corgan score for this descent into degenerate nomad hell. Yet despite such avant-garde showmanship, Argento's second effort behind the camera is significantly more polished than her debut, lacking the truly gonzo verve that might have overcome her film's more pressing, primary failure to capture the boy's-eye-view of LeRoy's tome. Closed off from her protagonist's internal turmoil, Argento's Heart is Deceitful gets the horrific literal facts straight but, disappointingly, captures only a trace of the mental anguish and manipulation that bestowed her source material with its coal-black tragedy.

Taken from the loving arms of his foster parents by unstable mom Sarah (Argento), Jeremiah (Jimmy Bennett for the first half; Dylan and Cole Sprouse for the latter section) finds himself unwillingly thrust into an itinerant life of substance abuse and sex-for-sale, a babe cast into the big bad woods of Middle American tract house communities and interstate truck stops. An odyssey of innocence parentally defiled, Argento's film strives, from the opening shot of a stuffed animal being waved in Jeremiah's face, to assume the perspective of her pint-sized protagonist, both through straightforward knee-high point-of-view shots as well as by grotesquely distorting her carnival-esque compositions to create a mood of terrified awe and dread. The result is a funhouse-mirror vibe rooted in squalor, from the decrepit apartments that Sarah and Jeremiah temporarily occupy with her assortment of boyfriends, to the parking lots where she plies her trade as a prostitute, to a combustible crack kitchen where the filth is so tangible that it can almost be felt creeping under one's fingernails. Still, working with cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards, Argento carefully balances these more out-there inclinations - felt most strikingly in Jeremiah's visions of cawing, flesh-eating red crows - with conventional setups and chronology, thereby deftly maintaining a tremulous sense of coherence even as her narrative begins spiraling into madness.

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B. Monkey Review


Good
Her name is B. Monkey. Why they called her movie B. Monkey is beyond me. No matter. Asia Argento is rather striking in this lead role, about a gorgeous heist artist who tries to get out of the business, settles down with a schoolteacher (Jared Harris), and gets sucked back in to crime. The film's story (as told by Il Postino director Michael Radford) is sleek and fun, and is helped in no small regard by the fact that Argento spends virtually the entire 95 minutes buck naked. Nice.

Land of the Dead Review


Good
George Romero inhabits a peculiar realm in American cinema. He is both a political provocateur, championing the cause of the common man, and the king of zombie gore, the lowbrow art of human disembowelment, decapitation, and so on.

Land of the Dead is Romero's fourth zombie picture, a sequel of sorts to his last "...of the Dead" picture, Day of the Dead. It all began, of course, with the infamous '60s shocker Night of the Living Dead - now a denizen of the public domain and released by every fly-by-night DVD company around - which combined social commentary and, at the time, shocking gore. It was a combo that inspired a whole genre, the zombie-athon, and countless imitators, very few of which are as inspired as any of Romero's. (The engaging and referential Shaun of the Dead comes closest.)

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Scarlet Diva Review


Grim
Were it not for her semi-famous father, director Dario Argento, Asia Argento would undoubtedly by wading thigh-deep through the porn industry right now. She may as well be: Scarlet Diva, her semi-fictionalized life story (written by, directed by, and starring herself), has the poor Italian girl whoring her way across Europe as she experiences rock shows, drug deals, and domestic violence -- though her movie alter-ego "Anna Battista" is far more famous than Asia will ever be.

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New Rose Hotel Review


Grim
Frustrated to the point where most people will give up, Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel is one of the worst-realized psychodramas ever made, despite its stellar one-two punch of Walken and Dafoe. Ostensibly a story about two con men who take $100 million to get a bigshot scientist to defect to a rival firm, it eventually turns into a story of obsession and subjectivity when Dafoe's character realizes he's been had. The end result is that the last half the movie is a flashback to the first half of the movie, and mostly in slow motion. Interminable and dull, with plenty of mood lighting and little in the way of mood.
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